Kimchee is a fermented dish of primarily vegetables. If you are in a warm/hot area, your kimchee will ferment faster thus developing the sour taste more quickly compared to if you make kimchee in a cooler area. It will likely have plenty of bubbles too from the fermentation.
I remember watching my brother make this kimchee back in 2009. I stood by with a measuring cup, paper and pen in hand. My brother Jun’s method is slightly different from how kimchee is traditionally made. He tastes/stirs his kimchee every day and keeps it lightly sealed in a bag/container; kimchee is generally kept in an air-tight container and left to ferment for several days without stirring. Additionally, he soaks his veggies in the salted water for two days instead of just for a few hours.
This recipe makes 4, tightly packed QUART jars.
3 Napa cabbages, medium-sized
1 daikon, about 1 foot long and 3 inches in diameter
2 c. salt
Water to cover
20 green onions
1 large BULB of garlic, peeled with hard ends of garlic cloves removed, about a ½ cup of cloves
1/2 of a medium, yellow onion
¼ cup pepper flakes
½ cup of sliced ginger
1 large Fuji or Pear-apple, peeled, cored and roughly cubed
½ c. fish (patis) sauce
¼ c. water
¼ c. more pepper flakes
1 tbsp. sugar
Tools: 2 large containers with cover, blender, large bowl, extra-large bowl for mixing, potato peeler, large glass jar with lid or several medium canning jars with lids, two, 13-gallon clean trash bags
1. Fill each container about two-thirds with water. Pour 1 cup of salt into each container and stir; salt will not dissolve immediately.
2. Peel the outer leaves off of each cabbage.
3. Slice the ends off as well.
4. Place one cabbage into a large container. Peel the leaves to separate them.
5. Place the second cabbage into the other container and repeat.
6. Peel the leaves of the third cabbage; put half into each container.
7. Rinse then skin the daikon with a potato peeler.
8. Slice the daikon in half, crosswise, then in half, lengthwise. Cut daikon into semicircle slices, just under ¼-inch thickness. Distribute half of the daikon into each container.
9. Pour a little bit more water into each container, leaving about two inches from the top.
10. Use both hands to move vegetables around, dispersing the salt.
11. Fill each container with water to about a ½ inch from the top, covering the vegetables. Cover the container then leave for 24 hours in a cool room.
12. Move veggies around; repeat again after another 24 hours.
13. Drain then rinse the cabbage and daikon thoroughly.
14. Separate the cabbage leaves as you rinse the vegetables; a stack of large leaves, medium leaves and tiny leaves.
15. Grab a stack of cabbage then cut into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Repeat to cut all of the cabbage. Set aside.
16. Cut the green parts of 15 green onions into 1 ½ inch slices then cut the green parts of the remaining 5 green onions into shorter pieces. Set aside.
17. Slice the white parts of all the green onions into thin diagonal pieces. Set aside.
18. Place all of set 3 into a blender.
19. Puree the mixture very well.
20. Pour the pureed sauce over the sliced green onions.
21. Add the extra ¼ cup of pepper flakes and 1 tablespoon of sugar to the green onion bowl. Stir to combine very well.
22. In a designated kimchee container, alternate layers of salted veggies and green onion-sauce, mixing well with each layer. Repeat until you have used all your veggies and sauce. Combine ingredients thoroughly. Cover the container, securing only one end of the cover.
23. Fit a 13-gallon clean trash bag into another 13-gallong bag.
24. Place the container of kimchee in the bag.
25. Wrap with the inner trash bag, loosely twisting and folding the end. Repeat with the second bag if you are concerned about containing the kimchee smell.
26. Ferment for 1 day.
27. Open bags and container to stir well. Taste.
28. Rewrap and ferment for a second day.
29. Open, stir and taste. Wrap again and ferment for a third day if the kimchee is more salty than sour.
30. Open, stir and taste. If the kimchee is still not as sour as you would like, ferment for just one more day.
31. Open, stir and taste. The kimchee will continue to ferment in the fridge, albeit slowly.
32. Scoop the veggies into a large glass jar with a lid or into several medium canning jars with lids. Pack the veggies tightly into each jar, draining some of the excess kimchee juice into another jar. Save this juice to season fried rice, soup or kado.
33. Place lids on jars, twisting to close, but not too tight.
34. Put all jars in fridge. Enjoy with hot rice, meat and whatever else you love.
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